By Emily Jackson
Mecca Temple No. 43 honored its new potentate this past weekend with a grand ceremony and gave back to the community by providing scholarships to three local high school seniors.
More than 450 people, including family, friends and previous potentates, of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky, attended the 65th annual Charity Ball and scholarship award ceremony this past weekend.
The temple was chartered in 1911 by the Ancient Egyptian Order Nobles Mystic Shrine, North and South America and its Jurisdictions Incorporated as a fraternal order of Shriners.
Noble Tyrone “Eric” Gatling, Sr., 65th Illustrious Potentate, was honored at the ball.
Mr. Gatling was born June 18, 1956 and is a 1980 graduate of Wilberforce University. He also earned a master degree in organization and development from Central Michigan University.
During this time, Mr. Gatling became a Prince Hall Mason and, eventually, Worshipful Master in 2002.
He retired from his 38 year career at General Motors in 2008 and a few years later made the decision to demit into Mecca Temple No. 43.
This year, he ascends to the high office of Illustrious Potentate and will serve for one calendar year.
Mr. Gatling and the Nobles of the temple work to give back to the community through fundraising, charitable giving and providing scholarships.
This year, the temple awarded three scholarships – two $1,000 scholarships and one $500 scholarship, which were provided by the potentate himself.
“We looked at their GPA, their community involvement, general financial need and demographics,” said Mark McBee, Imperial Deputy of the Oasis and past potentate of Mecca Temple No. 43.
The 2018 scholarship winners were seniors Nikaja Colbert of Scott High School, Isaiah Scribner of Bowsher High School and Yahdiyel McCadney of Central Catholic High School.
“I pray that you join Mecca Temple No. 43 in helping some of the young folks in our community reach out for their own dream, that of beginning their journey to attain their college degrees,” Mr. Gatling said as he addressed attendees.
He also encouraged his own children, Tyrone Jr., Anthony, Nastarsha, Tiesha, and Wesley to follow their own hearts and thanked his fiance, Patricia Sangster for her support.
Mr. McBee said the Charity Ball generally raises between $5,000 and $10,000 each year which makes it the “main event,” but there are also other smaller events that they plan and host throughout the year.
“The monies raised at the event are used to support other charity events,” Mr. Mcbee said. “…Food banks during the holidays, or during the fall we do a back to school program where we buy school supplies for inner-city kids.”
Mecca Temple No. 43 also contributes to the National Diabetes Association and to St. Jude’s Hospital.